Scholarly EUs Assemble!


You must have missed my post up the page HERE.


I’m wondering what the basis is for the conclusion that:

“the precise reason it was described as permanent is because no one knew how long someone would live, and “permanent” is designed to cover the maximum amount of time possible here, no matter how long someone might live—even if they lived forever!”

Something to do with the context of such quotes? Surely the ancients knew that mortals do not live forever. If one has a permanent or life long membership to a golf club, who would understand that as lasting forever? The use of aionios in relation to the tenure of gymnasiarcs seems similar to that of aion in classical Greek where aion is used of such things as the mortal life of a bird or tree or man, or in the LXX where aion/ios is used of the lasting duration that a slave would remain the slave of his master, i.e. for his life (or that of his master’s life), whether it lasted for an hour or decades. But, perhaps, with references to the aionios gymnasiarcs quotes the contexts would shed more light on this subject.

According to your linked article gymnasiarcs “rank and duties varied widely in different places and at different times”. In Athens they were “chosen annually…The same name was given to rich epheboi, who undertook for a longer or shorter period, generally one month…”


<off-subject a bit: my post up above mentioned rationality as a gift of becoming a Christian. What I meant was along the lines of the quote by Lewis:
"“I believe in Christianity as I believe that the sun has risen: not only because I see it, but because by it I see everything else.”

― C.S. Lewis >


@koine_lingua , do you think the Bible teaches arminianism or calvinism? Also, do you think the Bible teaches salvation by faith alone or salvation by faith combined with works?


@qaz - Well, qaz, the only issue is that stands as one’s personal, theo-philosophical issue to wrestle with (for or against ETC/annihilation/UR) and not purely or pertinently a theological/exegetical/etymological issue (as is being discussed/debated on this thread) unless of course we’re going to deal with theodicy, ya know?

  • Btw this is supposed to be in response to post 59 but I’m not so sure I replied to it like I thought I did. Kinda still figuring out the mechanics of the forum’s new interface. My bad, again.


It’s been a while since I’ve looked at this in particular, and a lot of my older notes are lost, but my understanding is that the older usage of aion as pertaining to “life” in particular (like its old, Homeric usage of “life force,” or “life-time”) had all but disappeared by the Hellenistic or Roman period.

Now, when it comes to the papyri – which is the main source where you’re going to find this discussion of gymnasiarchs, etc. – there can be all sorts of funky meanings for all sorts of different terms; especially when we get into stock titulature and idiomatic usage.

One thing I do want to point to, though, is this epithet aionobios that I think we find in some of the Greco-Egyptian papyri. This is used to mean “living forever”; and so clearly in instances like these, it’;s the bios component here which suggests life, and then aion its sense of continuity or perpetuity. (For an interesting if all-too-brief discussion of this and related issues, you can check out the 2nd volume of H. S. Versnel’s Inconsistencies in Greek and Roman Religion, in the section that has the line “There are places where aiônios or aeternus cannot but refer to the actual life of king or emperor, although scholars have tried to contest it on the ground that this would imply an absurdity.” Some of it can be found on Google Books.)

There are other compound words where the first element here is aion. In fact, we have at least one usage of αἰωνογυμνασίαρχος, aionogymnasiarchos, itself! (You can see a couple of other similar words here.) But one of the other more insightful things here is the close parallels to the reigns of various officials being described aionios. We see synonymous usage of things like this, in the papyri and elsewhere, where their reigns are referred to as apaustos or athanatos or dianekes – words that also clearly suggest permanence (and having nothing to do with “life” in particular, in themselves).

And of course we could also mention that the exact same goes for other Jewish and Christian texts which use “aionios punishment” and “punishment” with the same other terms (apaustos, athanatos, dianekes etc.) synonymously.

In any case, back on topic, I know that at least one other text calls for the aionios diamone of the emperor. This may be particularly interesting if it suggests that the emperor continues to reign in perpetuity – as this would almost certainly suggest that aionios has a much more intense meaning here than the already intense διαμονή (the latter of which LSJ glosses as “continuance, permanence”).



If you will indulge me for a moment, I have a few questions.

  1. You clearly known Koine-Greek well, possibly many other languages. But, why do you remain anonymous? I respect it, totally. Just curious.

  2. What do you believe? Are you a theist, or a non-theist?

  3. What do you think of a) Robert M. Price and b) Bart D. Ehrman?

Please be assured, I am not trying to get an angle on anything. I am impressed with your posts on reddit a few years back, saw this thread and watched it unfortunately die until just a few days ago to my surprise.

  1. Oh I’m not anonymous; I’m just, like, no one special, and there’s not a lot out there about me anyways. (I’m not an actual scholar or anything, just a super dedicated hobbyist. If I were an actual scholar, these are the sort of things I’d be publishing, etc.: .)

  2. I’m a non-theist.

  3. I think Robert Price is largely a hack. I think Ehrman has done some good academic work, though he’s more of a popularizer these days than anything. I think he can have a bad tendency to oversimplify things, and I kind of wish there was someone else who was the main popular “face” of academic Biblical studies. Some of my favorite Biblical scholars: John J. Collins, Dale Allison, Jon Levenson, Heikki Räisänen, Crispin Fletcher-Louis, Maurice Casey, James Barr, David Aune, Paula Fredriksen, M. David Litwa, Daniel Boyarin, James Dunn, George Nickelsburg, Fernando Bermejo-Rubio, Martin Hengel, Andrei Orlov, Guy Stroumsa, Jan Bremmer,


What texts do you think support universalism?


I think Romans 11:26 suggests universal salvation of Jews. Less so Gentiles, though.


There’s also 1 Tim 4:10. And the verse in John’s epistle that says Jesus is the propitiatory shelter not only for us, but the whole world.

I was thinking of ordering one of Ramelli’s books, but it sounds like her scholarship is poor?


@koine_lingua please see the quotes I’ve uploaded here Aionios in the fathers what do you think?

Aionios in the fathers

Thoughts, my brothers? @koine_lingua @St_Michael @Origen @Paidion @qaz @JasonPratt


So incompetent as to hardly be worthy of response, unfortunately.

My favorite line, though, was “Our word ‘eternity’ comes from Latin word ‘aeternam’ [sic] not the Greek word ‘aion’” (emphasizing the latter’s meaning of “age”). Ironically though, Latin aeternus derives from aevum, which is in fact often does suggest a finite age. Surprise, words evolve and have different meanings.

There’s a reason you always find people/apologists here stuck on books that were written in the 1870s. Imagine if this were any other field of study on the planet, and instead of using, you know, the latest scientific insights from the last couple of decades or whatever, people relied on research that was 150 years old.


Not sure I agree with the above. Textual Criticism, Etymology, and Scholarship in general isn’t an exact science. Hence, so many scholars disagree with each other. This doesn’t happen so much in actual science were we can verify any number of things. You can’t do that with history, so you must weight probabilities. Some give more weight to certain arguments over others.

That said, I do agree with your main point overall, I think. Meaning we certainly have more works to choose from via archaeology and hence broaden our scope further. The problem is, though, if we reduce your logic far enough, then we might assume the generation after Christ was inferior in knowledge in regards to the works and life of Christ, and the terms of that age than the 1500s, which was inferior knowledge to the 1870s, which is inferior to today. I think you can see that is false, and not very logical. The closer to the source, generally speaking, the more accurate. But with 2,000 years in between where books are burned, discarded, withered away, anything is possible. You could, in theory, have a scenario where we did know more in the 1500’s about than the 1900’s. It all depends on what works existed when, where and whether they exist today in the same form.

That said, you are likely more right than wring in regards to 1870s to today. However, people of that age we’re far more learned than we are today. Meaning each person was brilliant in comparison. The Harvards and Yales of that time were demanding and required a wealth of knowledge. They were more generalists. To be fair, though, a lot of that is due to specialization. Without it, we can’t advance much further. But with specialization, especially in a debatable topic, you end up maybe not quite a clear picture. Let’s say I am a specialist in one area of computers, because being a generalist is too difficult now. If I am good friends with a specialist in the “enterprise storage”, I’d be likely to take his word over many other specialists that exist in that field. Hence, I have’t really made up my mind in regards to the broader picture, I merely have my field of expertise and I adopted a viewpoint of a colleague on another issue without really knowing that is right. For science, specialization is brilliant. In theory all your specialists (or most) all come to the same conclusion. This is definitely NOT the case with scholarship specialization. You will have more dissenters, because, once again you cannot verify or prove much in that realm.

Language is so complex… Even today we have phrases (figures of speech) that don’t really mean what they mean! I am sure, relatively sure, that this has always been the case. I use them every day in life and love to point them out to my kids.


Wow, this forum is very unusable on my phone. Bummer. Excuse typos above and here.


Tell me about it dude smh lol wonky, low-quality ass androids are shitty conduits for typing here (and many other places).


Good point about not all scholars agreeing. If they were debating this during the Ante-Nicene era, how much more are we supposed to be closer to the truth? Of course we’ve gotta consider that brother lingua is (presumably) a hard agnostic-athiest whereas you are a soft agnostic-theist. Nobody, even the Apostles were without there handful of issues. I really hate that there’s never been a single consensus on this.

Of course, as you said Gabe, vulgarly denigrating the work and research of scholars altogether simply because of their position is not conducive by any means (for us believers, at least). But I can respect lingua’s indiscriminate aim to be objective and stoically inclined (though not w/o his own biases); his source material and commentary certainly adds a moderate, sober humility for us believers (particularly UR’s) in this conversation. It’s been enough to make me reconsider whether I should be a hopeful [purgatorial] Christian universalist rather than a dogmatic one.

So what elements of the video (narrated by Michael Word from the Total Victory of Christ) did you independently agree with, and on what points do you concur with lingua’s criticism?


In John Jesus says all that the Father gives him will never be cast out, and the Father has given the Son all things. Do you not think that is evidence for universalism?


Can you give references to 10 examples of those in the 5% or less category?